This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in-country and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything on the list, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind there is a 100-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in-country.
Baggage & weight limit: The Peace Corps limits the size and weight of baggage and will not pay to transport baggage that exceeds these limits. The allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 100 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds per bag.
Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers.
- One black outfit for a funeral; for women, a black dress and/or skirt (conservative, long)
- Waterproof windbreaker. Make sure it isn’t too heavy and that it’s breathable.
- Long dresses with sleeves—should be loose and well below the knees.
- Long, loose skirts (below the knees and full enough for you to be able to sit on the floor with your legs to the side and your knees covered.)
- Tops and shirts. Plenty of loose-fitting, comfortable, short-sleeved cotton shirts (lightweight; medium or heavy weight cotton absorbs sweat and is hard to dry); at least one or two long-sleeved tops to wear when you’ve had enough sun; and synthetic/wicking shirts (lightweight and fast drying).
- Blouses. Bring a few nice, lightweight tailored blouses. Short sleeves are best for the hotter weather.
- Bras (regular and sports varieties) and underwear (cotton). Consider cotton or a wicking fabric. Bring as many as you will need for your full two years, as they are very expensive to replace here and tend to wear out with repeated scrubbing. It is good to have an unopened pack of underwear to use the second year.
- Cotton slip. You may need to wear a slip with your lightweight dresses and skirts. Don’t bring pantyhose and stockings (they are too hot in this climate).
- Spandex or boxer briefs to wear under a skirt. The heat and humidity intensify the chaffing.
- Jeans and long pants (lightweight cotton and capri-type).
- Shorts. One or two pair(s) of knee-length shorts are advisable for beach or sports.
- T-shirts and board shorts. With the exception of being at a resort, it is not appropriate to swim in just a bathing suit. Women swim covered up.
- Slacks and long pants.
- Shirts. Permanent press, collared, button-down cotton shirts are suggested for work. Long sleeves rolled up are acceptable, but short sleeves are cooler and more commonly worn. Golf shirts are fine to wear to work. T-shirts and rugby shirts are for recreation only. Lightweight and thin T-shirts are ideal as they are cool and easier to dry after they are washed.
- Shorts. These are usually worn only in casual, non-job-related activities and in some rural-based assignments (e.g., fisheries). Cutoffs and gym shorts are for recreation only.
- Undergarments. Boxer shorts are best. Lightweight and synthetic materials help keep moisture away and breathable. Bring five to 10 pairs. Underclothes are very expensive in Fiji and wear out quickly due to hand-scrubbing and humidity. Cotton boxer shorts are not available here.
- One necktie
- A few pair of socks
Shoes and Accessories
- Athletic shoes
- Sandals/walking shoes
- Waterproof watch
- Waterproof wallet
- Laptop cooler
- A few flash drives and external hard drive
- Silica gel to protect your electronics (camera, etc.) from moisture damage.
- Digital or waterproof camera
- Kitchen and Home
- Good, sharp kitchen knife.
- Pocketknife or multi-purpose tool (Swiss Army knife or Leatherman)
- Plastic water bottles
- Zip-close bags.
- Dryer sheets
- Pillow (hard to find good ones in Fiji)
Personal hygiene and toiletry items
Just about anything you need can be purchased here. However, imported items often cost roughly the same as they would in the U.S. If you have a favorite brand or product, you might consider bringing a supply with you. If you are on any special medication, bring a three-month supply with you, as it may take that long for a replacement to be ordered from the U.S. Anyone with glasses, hearing aid, etc., should bring at least one replacement. In most cases, the Peace Corps will not replace more than one pair of eyeglasses.
MiscellaneousBring along small, but replaceable, parts of your life you don’t want to live without for the next two years. Make sure they are light enough to carry, sturdy enough to last, and dispensable enough that losing them wouldn’t be a serious problem. Here are some suggestions:
- A few small luggage locks (for when your bags are in storage)
- Day pack/backpack. Waterproof is best.
- Sturdy luggage/travel bags. Waterproof and collapsible. Hard luggage tends to be cumbersome here as you will not have much room for storage. Collapsible cloth bags or backpacks tend to be more durable than leather, which can mold quickly. Once you are in Fiji, you will travel during training for extended periods of time with your necessities in one suitcase, so bring one average-sized lightweight piece of luggage so you can travel light when necessary. You might consider a few waterproof bags—also known as sea bags or dry sacks—for when you travel by boat.
- Sleeping bag liner. You will not need a full-size sleeping bag, but a cotton “mummy” sleeping bag liner, or other lightweight travel sheet will come in handy.
- Checks. It’s a good idea to keep a checking account at home so you can write checks for things like tax returns, graduate school applications, etc.
- Paperback books.
- Duct tape (a roll or two will come in handy)
- Inflatable globe or lightweight atlas.
- Small board games, playing cards, Frisbees, etc.
- Musical instrument(s) (if you play any)
- Photos of home. Photos of winter/snow scenes will be especially fascinating. Be sure to bring a picture of family members. It will be needed in language training, and your community friends will be fascinated to see your relatives.
- American pocket dictionary
- Inexpensive gifts: cheap baseball logo hats, U.S. symbols (such as pins, flags, etc.), bottle openers, nail clippers, bumper stickers, ashtrays, ballpoint pens, comic books, cheap windup toys, posters, magazines, and/or logo T-shirts
- Water sport equipment. If you plan on scuba diving or snorkeling, you might consider bringing some gear—especially light-gauge wetsuits or dive skins to protect you from water lice. Snorkeling equipment might also be handy. Scuba tanks, regulators, and buoyancy compensating devices can be rented.
- If you plan to travel to other countries for vacation, you may want to bring extra money to suit your travel plans; credit cards or traveler's checks are preferable to cash. There are ATMs in larger cities, and most towns so you may want to bring an ATM card to access a bank account in the U.S.
- Small gifts for host family and friends (not required); knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; photos to give away.